Slightly worrying name, but a great place 😀
Bob worked from home and we went out; I think he probably had the less tiring day 😆
It was a wizarding event, so lots of Celtic-inspired, wizarding themed activities, starting with making a “wand pouch” from hessian and string, then collecting a “magical flint” to put in a wand. In theory the children should have been able to knap the flint themselves, but in practice it was too busy (Sun was quieter, apparently) so they just watched the flint knapping expert make a stone hand axe using hammer stones, antler hammers and the power of angles, then collected from him a carefully pre-blunted flint. He showed us how sharp a flint blade can be by scoring the edge of his thick leather apron with it, then broke the sharp edge away with a finger nail, showing how brittle it was, hence the invention of much thicker blades with serrated edges (L worked out what he was doing immediately but couldn’t think of the word; fortunately he was completely happy with her description of it being “like mountains”) to rip rather than cut. He said he has seen hand axes and flint blades used to cut up animals and it is scary; the thin straight blades can cut a finger to the bone before you realise you’ve been cut, while the thicker serrated ones can rip through hide and meat so you can cut up a carcass in just a few minutes – essential for cavemen who were competing with larger and fiercer animals.
Next to the flint knappers roundhouse was a circus skills workshop, where J and L learned to spin plates, K had a go with diablo and devilsticks (is there a more PC name for those?), L and K had their faces painted and A flirted with instructors who tried to get her juggling 😆
There was a story trail about to begin so we joined that and followed the storyteller through the woods (I may try to get the stories down before we forget them, as the children are all keen to keep telling and retelling them 🙂 ) on a circular trail past trees, huts and carved animals. I think we may go back for one of their full-on storytelling sessions, because we were all ready to go on for several more when she finished after just five (reminder to self: nut, great creator, man and tree, tree and heart, hedgehog who went pop).
Time for lunch, so K and L played in the sandpit and playground while J and I consulted menus. J went for a cheese roll, while K and L and A and I shared jacket potatoes – and then J decided he liked the look of potatoes more so A and I ended up sharing three ways *sigh*
After lunch we continued our quest, finding gnomes with directions and clues. We collected feathers from one, made wands at the weaving sheds with the next (willow stick, with flint inserted into a slit in the end, wrapped around with wool, decorated with feathers, dipped in glitter), collected smooth pebbles to give to the gnome guarding the bridge so we could cross, found the way to the druid’s hut where we were able to decipher some runes and choose which ones to write on the wands (L went for Joy and Mother, K for strength and defensive action (?!) and J for strength and wealth), made broomsticks from birch twigs and string, wove some wishes and dreams into the weaving web, made friends with the goats, wandered through the willow tunnel and then sat down in relief to watch a (rather small, but they’re working on it!) display of Celtic warriors (well, warrior, plus volunteers) and a circus skills display. There should have been fire juggling, but it was too windy with so many trees nearby so it was crystal ball work instead – still rather impressive and J was very cross that we had run out of memory on the camera so I couldn’t video it. Must get another memory card!
It was almost time to go now, but we managed to squeeze in a few minutes in the arena doing some Celtic games and activities, which proved to be L and K’s favourite bit, so I’m glad we did it. Next time I think we might start there, though, as we only got to do half of them before chucking out time 🙁 We didn’t even make it over to the archery section, partly by design as J desperately wanted to have a go and I was worried about his arm, while K was under the age limit (7) but hoping to have a go anyway. Next time…

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  1. Sounds great! I wish I was closer to Herts, I’m sure my children (and me) would love a day out there. My 12 year old has been going to circus skills classes for a while and recently did a performance with the diablo on stilts – he really enjoys going to the classes.

    Thanks for visiting my blog btw 🙂

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